Sink a Joe — Shift a Shack

When we put our home on the market last spring to relocate from the mid-west to the Pacific Northwest, we received advice from numerous people encouraging us to buy a small statue of St. Joseph and “follow the instructions to the letter” because it would “make the house sell fast!”

Not being Catholic, our concern was that we would be stepping on saintly toes, so when we went to the local Catholic shop for our purchase, we were assured by the managing nuns that it wasn’t offensive in any way, and were once again admonished to “follow the instructions to the letter.”

We buried St. Joseph in front of the house — head down, feet up, facing the street — and said the prayer included with the instructions.


Summer, fall, and winter came and went. Just when we were convinced that we’d accidentally picked St. Slow instead of St. Joe, our home sold to a pre-qualified buyer and everything progressed like greased lightning!

Have you ever used an unorthodox method to accomplish something?

Next Tuesday’s post will be published from the road as we relocate across the country. Stay tuned…

© Laurie Buchanan

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60 thoughts on “Sink a Joe — Shift a Shack

  1. Laurie, Len,

    Congratulations! I have heard of this “ritual” before, we even read that you had been approached about placing St Joe in hole. I am not sure it was the placing the statue in the ground, I believe it is the intention about the whole process, as with any ritual…

    My life has been unorthodox lead by intuition as well as some rituals…

  2. Hi Laurie and Len,
    Congratulations on the sale of the house and moving forward with your dream of moving to the northwest. Travel safe and take care.
    Sending you off with lots of gratitude, prayers for safe travel, and joy for new beginnings.

  3. Oh, Laurie, I love this story, in this case ritual and intention trumps religious belief. And you have a photo to prove your facts too.

    Best wishes as you travel west next week. You know, of course, that Cliff is from the Pacific Northwest, Washington state to be exact. You will be arriving with the spring weather to greet you–perhaps with more tulips! I love forward to more stories in a different setting.

    • Marian – I’m glad you enjoyed this post. Thank you so much for the well-wishes as we journey across the country. I’ll be taking photographs along the way and sharing them next Tuesday 🙂

  4. HI, Laurie, I love your new tulip header, it sings Spring! Don’t you know that good St. Joe will be as happy to be out the “head first” hole as you will be to be Westward bound!? Congrats on his successful sales campaign and Hoorah! on your Grand Adventure!

    • Sandi – We’re over the moon with excitement. I’m glad you like the header. I plan to refresh it quarterly (or possibly monthly) with floral and fauna from our new geographic location. We covet your prayers as we journey 🙂

  5. Oh we have a lot of rituals here! One is to throw salt in all corners of the new house the day you move in. That’s supposed to drive away all negative vibes away for a fresh start. 🙂 Good luck on the move Laurie! Don’t forget to keep us updated with your new adventures!

    • The Vanilla Housewife – I’m very familiar with using salt to cleanse an area of energy that’s no longer serving anyone well. As such, you can bet your bottom dollar we’ll “refresh” the house before we move in. I’ll definitely keep you updated on our progression. Stay tuned…

  6. Congratulations on the sale of your home and the next steps. I am selling our small cabin in the woods, and when I get up there next month I may just follow this intention. I love that you embraced something that wasn’t in your norm!

  7. Good luck on your move, Laurie. The PNW is stunning in its beauty. My wife and I will seriously consider moving there if we need to escape cold Minnesota in our retirement years. British Columbia is the most beautiful area I have ever visited, and Washington ain’t too darn far behind. Oregon and Washington for the vineyards and wineries alone would be worth moving for. 🙂


  8. Laurie, I am Catholic and am familiar with this ritual. It appears that you both were blessed by your willingness to turn over some of your prospects to the spiritual world. Wonderful, and best of luck to you both as you set sights on one of the most beautiful regions in the country. When it comes to doing things in an unorthodox way, I think we are masters in this house. Ha! But it does seem like we usually achieve our goals, so who’s to contest the method–the results are what count, and in your case they were obviously defining!

  9. Laurie I am so pleased for you. I am sure you are going to be so happy in your new home, but whatever you do don’t loose contact with us, because I just couldn’t do without ‘Tuesday’s With Laurie ‘. Have a safe journey .
    I have never heard of St.Joe but something tells me I’m going to be needing him . We put our house up for sale in two weeks . I completely dread to move but we have to face it don’t we .
    I’ll be thinking of you lots and lots of luck lovely Laurie .
    Cherry x

    • Cherry – You can absolutely COUNT ON a weekly post here at Tuesdays with Laurie. I’m so glad you look forward to it; thank you for letting me know.

      Just go to your local “Catholic” store and ask for their “St. Joseph Moving Kit” — it”ll have a little plastic statue and the prayer. Simply follow the directions and you’ll be cookin’ with oil! 🙂

  10. How exciting,Laurie! A new adventure! What part of the Pacific Northwest are you headed to? It’s beautiful here – although I suspect we are on the wrong side of the mountains to truly be included in the PNW.

    Sent from my iPad


  11. Congratulations on the sale of your house! That’s quite an accomplishment in today’s market, I think (must’ve been the good St Joseph intentions). Best wishes for safe travels and a good moving in experience!

    • Kqkirkland – Having lived in the PNW for 5-years, I’m familiar with the gray skies. As to where…

      …I’m going to do a s-l-o-w reveal (using the cross-country journey to blog our final destination). All will be revealed. Stay tuned…

  12. Congratulations, Laurie! This is wonderful news. And I hope you enjoy your new home in the Pacific Northwest as much as I enjoy my home in the same location, but a little farther north. : )
    Do I ever do something in an unorthodox way?
    Hmm, yeah.
    A short story from kindergarten…
    My teacher told my mom, “Leanne has an ingenious way of putting on her jacket. She pulls her hood on and then with the jacket anchored, she rescues with the zipper. Did you teach her that.”
    And my mom with pride replied, “No, that’s a Leanneism.”–there were many of those.
    And to this day, I continue to say, what ever works for you.

  13. All my favorite people live in the northwest part of the country, (well, most of them). I think it must be an awesome place to live and applaud your courage! I would love to follow your lead! I know about St. Joe but never actually called upon him, St. Anthony is a favorite of mine and quite dependable. I’m not the least bit superstitious, but when it comes to spiritual matters I’m all in. I had our first home blessed thirty something years ago and I’m pretty sure the fact that it rained on our wedding day kept us married all these years. There are so many wonderful traditions that are everyday reminders that there’s more to the world than meets the eye! I love the story Dr. Estes tells in one of her lectures about how her grandmother regularly prayed to her little saint statues. When the results didn’t please her, she was known to put a bag over their heads and tell them they might want to think over her request! 🙂 You’ll be in my thoughts as you journey west!

  14. Whoo Hooo Way to get the job done!. I am going to share that idea with my neighbor, they have been waiting 2 years to sell and they had to move back to Maine with not even any lookers!

    Now PNW! I remember a picture you shared….wondering where that was?

    I started yesterday making a plan for my 65th birthday in August, which includes a ferry ride around the islands and heading up to Victoria – then hopefully lunch with Terrill on Mayne Island, a B&B, then ferry to Bowen Island for Lunch with the best editor I know Davina Haisell and then a visit with family in Victoria and near Vancouver and then a ferry ride home – Do you think you will be close enough for lunch with you? and maybe Len? That would make it very special indeed.

    I think the greatest gift I could give myself this year is an “out of House” experience!

    Way to go – safe drive and move

  15. Patricia – Way to rock your 65th birthday! Definitely have your friends Google “Sell Home St. Joseph” — they’ll learn all about it.

    I’m going to do a s-l-o-w reveal (using the cross-country journey to blog our final destination). You’ll have to decide if our new geographic location is within “birthday lunch range,” but I think if you have to spend the night (which you would), it would be a l-o-n-g distance to travel.

  16. Yah-hoooooo! Congratulations Laurie! I am delighted that you will be closer to our concerned of the world. We might just get that cup of tea together yet! Looking forward to your slow reveal 🙂

    I think I am just plain unorthodox by nature but nothing specific comes to mind.

    • Terrill – I know you’ve got a fresh post out there, I’ve seen it tempting me in my email. I’m going to wait until I can enjoy it with a hot cuppa, and give it my undivided attention. And yes – I’m going to be 1,700 miles closer to your neck of the woods — whoohoo! 🙂

  17. oh, wow! you guys are outta here! I wish you both the very best and hope that you find the happy lives there that you are looking forward to. It’s been such a pleasure and I look forward to staying connected virtually! Please give my best to Len!

  18. I’m married to a Catholic, and his family are always saying you should pray to Saint This or Saint That for your desired outcome! I think your desire to sell may have been the over-riding influence, but it doesn’t hurt to back up the intention with a superstition, I used to always have a St. Christopher medallion in my car. Your new adventure sounds so exciting, I’m looking forward to hearing more! 🙂

    • Joanne – As you say, it never hurts to hedge your bets! 🙂 When I was in high school, it was common (regardless of faith background) to give a St. Christopher medallion as a way to show you were “going steady.”

  19. Orthodoxy has rarely been a companion of mine, unless enforcement officers of the orthodoxy are close by.

    I’ve been willing to try most things, and some seem to work repeatably, so those I keep on trying.

    However, it has been my observation that for most people, the search for pattern leads to finding patterns where they really don’t exist.

    We sold our last house in about a year, without any omens or St Joes or anything vaguely similar. We just employed a real-estate agent who I knew through JayCees and some advertising. We rejected the first few offers we got, that were substantially below our asking price, and eventually we got what we wanted for the house.

    So I am a yes to giving things a go, if there is any evidence that they might work, and I am also a yes to being sceptical of any explanation that cannot be tested (like person A doing it properly and it being god’s efforts and person B doing it wrong and the result being the devil’s work). Much simpler just to leave god and the devil out of the equation and look for some alternative explanation.

    I am very confident of the scientific method, and not at all confident about scientific orthodoxy – the two are very different things.

    When we bought our current house, we borrowed every dollar the bank would loan us to buy a house we had never seen. (We lived 300 miles away, across some ocean, so did not have the opportunity to visit the house prior to purchase, but we did know where it was, even if we have never been inside it.) Possibly the best thing we have ever done, and hardly orthodox.

    • Ted – Much like you, we’ve leased a home — sight unseen (other than photos/description on the internet) — 1,700 miles away. We “hedged our bets” a bit in that after the initial lease is up we can
      (a) rent with the option buy — if we love it — or
      (b) run like our pants are on fire if we don’t like it.

  20. Oh, yes! I used St. Joe to sell my condo a few years ago. I believe in St. Jude (the patron saint of lost or hopeless causes). But then, of course, I also send love on the wingtips of owl spirits and believe my reincarnated cat lives with me, so consider the source :-D.

  21. Laurie, I’m so excited for you. We moved three years ago from Michigan to Virginia. We didn’t have St. Joe to help us, however. We had whatever the patron saint of low price/fast sale is. 😦 It all turned out well in the end, however. I know it will for you also.

    Best wishes on your move. I look forward to your next posts as we move back to Virginia after spending a lovely week with kiddos.

  22. Congratulations, Laurie. We sold our house without even putting it on the market, and sold it to the 2nd person who saw it. Amazing!

    Hope your week is going well. We just got back from the beach. I’m trying to sneak in a visit with you before my workshop gets going. Sorry to be so rushed.

    Hugs from Ecuador,

  23. Congratulations Laurie! I am sure you have written this before and I probably read it, but don’t remember. Where exactly are you moving and what made you select that location?

  24. I’ve never heard this about St. Joseph. Fascinating! I can’t think that I’ve ever done anything quite like this, or particularly unorthodox, but over a lifetime, I probably have and just don’t recall. I hope you’ll be very happy in your new home!

  25. Laurie & Len, so happy for you. Enjoy the journey–but I know you will. I’m jealous, as my heart is in the Pacific Northwest. Some day…

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